Alaska Golden Circle Cycling

Trip Length 10 Days
Group Size 12
Difficulty
Starting from
$3,529 for REI Members
$3,879 for non-members
Departures May 2020-Aug 2020

Experience epic Alaska on this 10-day tour along the Alaska Golden Circle Route. The remote, challenging riding on one of the most scenic routes in the world makes this a trip you'll remember for the rest of your life.

The Alaska Golden Circle route spans two countries and covers the routes taken by 100,000+ prospectors searching for gold between 1896 and 1899. The growth and long-standing impact of the Klondike/Yukon Gold Rush can still be seen today. This region offers stunning scenery, gold-rush history, alpine lakes, and coastal rainforests.

The temperate rainforest of Southeast Alaska is predominantly forested by Sitka spruce and Western Hemlock. We often encounter a variety and abundance of wildlife, including bears, wolves, deer, salmon, bald eagles and water fowl. Climbing out of the rainforest and into the alpine tundra of British Columbia and the Yukon Territory we find elk, deer and moose among the mostly white and black spruce trees.

Our visits to the towns of Haines, Haines Junction, Whitehorse, Skagway, and Juneau combine to make this an epic adventure full of wildlife, breathtaking beauty, history, and culture. The higher mileages entice the avid cyclist while encouraging the adventurous cyclist.

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Trip Highlights

  • Explore the late 19th-century Klondike/Yukon Gold Rush Route
  • Cycle through Kluane National Park and Tatshenshini-Alsek National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Quiet, empty roads, abundant wildlife, breathtaking beauty, and unique history and culture
  • Stunning vistas and alpine lakes along the Haines, Alaska/Canada, and Klondike Highways
  • Remote cycling, camping and hoteling in two countries and two provinces

Activities

This trip is rated Moderate Plus [3-4]. Trip members should be capable of cycling up to 60 miles (5-7 hours) with a peak elevation of 3500'. Participants should come equipped with a spirit of adventure.

  • Cycling

What's Included

Nine nights camping and accommodations; all meals as noted in the daily itinerary; bikes; any entry fees.

Accommodations

Rustic lodge or cottage accommodations, 6 nights; classic camping, 3 nights

Your wheels for the journey

Every great tour begins with a great bike, and our top-flight fleet has been carefully curated for your cycling adventure.

Want to bring your own bike?  You can do that too.

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Welcome to Haines, the gateway to the Golden Circle

Arrive on your own into Haines, AK by 2pm. You can take the Alaska Marine Highway ferry or a regional flight on Alaska Seaplanes or Harris Air from Juneau, Alaska. After checking into our hotel, we have some time to explore the small coastal community of Haines. We meet near the hotel for a bike fitting and orientation in the late afternoon, followed by dinner at a local restaurant. Dinner included.

Day 2

Soar with the eagles and land in a heli-skiers lodge

After breakfast we hop on our bikes and ride along the glacier-fed Chilkat River along the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve. We stop for lunch near the village of Klukwan and visit the Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Center on the banks of the Chilkat River. The center preserves the history and language of the Tlingit tribe, who have lived in the area for more than 10,000 years. We tour the center and have lunch on the grounds. From there, it?s just 6 miles to our lodging for the evening. A popular lodge for heli-skiers in the winter, the lodge has amenities like a sauna and espresso bar, and is one of the last lodging options for roughly 100 miles. All meals included.

Cycling: 28 miles, Elevation gain/loss +1,189? / -1,029?

Day 3

O Canada!

Grab your passports this morning before we begin the long, winding route on the Haines Highway up the Three Guardsmen and Chilkat passes. At about 3,500' we reach the top of the tree line and enter a large wilderness area encompassing National and Provincial Parks on both sides of the US/Canada border. Just fifty miles from the coast, the scenery quickly transitions from temperate rainforest to alpine tundra and snow-capped peaks. We see trumpeter swans, and a myriad of other wildlife along the way. This evening is our first overnight at a rustic campground. It's called Million Dollar Falls, and you'll want to take a short stroll to see the falls after relaxing around camp a bit. No showers tonight but a campsite wash-up is provided. Passports required. All meals included

Cycling: 66 miles, Elevation gain/loss +5,078? / -2,685?

Day 4

Reach new heights on the way to Kluane National Park and Reserve

Today we bike through Kluane National Park, a land of majestic wilderness, mountains, expansive lakes and open vistas. The park is home to Canada?s highest (and North America?s second highest) peak, Mount Logan (19,551?). With a little luck we'll see grizzly bears, Dall sheep, and mountain goats. Tonight we sleep at a quaint B&B with individual cabins near Haines Junction. All meals included.

Cycling: 37 miles, Elevation gain/loss +2,756? / -2,731?

Day 5

Reach Haines Junction, a historic traders outpost for the First Nations peoples

Tonight?s campsite is at a native cultural site near the historic trading post of Champagne, an important meeting and trading place for the Champagne and Aishihik Indigenous peoples in Canada, and a Gold Rush stopover on the trail to Dawson City. We take a unique and inspiring cultural tour of a recreated First Nations village at Long Ago Peoples Place before settling down for the evening. No showers, but running water is available. All meals included.

Cycling: 60 miles, Elevation gain/loss:: +3,265? / -3,519?

Day 6

Take a turn eastward for Whitehorse, the prominent prospectors settlement of the Klondike Gold Rush

This morning we continue southeast towards the Yukon River through forested areas, crossing several tributaries as we pedal into the capital of the Yukon Territory, Whitehorse. Whitehorse became a temporary stopping point, then a permanent settlement for prospectors during the Klondike Gold Rush. Now, Whitehorse is a city of 25,000 hardy folks living on the banks of the mighty Yukon River. We'll spend two nights here, and evening meals are on your own?our guides can offer some excellent recommendations nearby. Breakfast and lunch included.

Cycling: 54 miles, Elevation gain/loss +2,174? / -2,399?

Day 7

Whitehorse rest day—a choice of activities

A day to catch your breath or keep the activity coming. You could mountain bike some local trails, take our van shuttle to the Takhini Hot Springs, explore local shops and museums, take a walking river trail tour, or maybe a canoe trip. You can also just kick back, relax, and enjoy the town of Whitehorse. Our guides will provide a list of activities available. Breakfast and lunch are on your own, as we don?t want to intrude on your rest day. Dinner included.

Day 8

Caribou Crossing a.k.a. Carcross

An early start today gets us moving southeast along the ALCAN Highway before we turn south to head back to the US (but not today!). As we ride along the Klondike Highway the coastal mountains beckon to us again. Today we'll cross the Carcross Desert, but it's perhaps the smallest desert in the world at just 640 acres, so we should be able to manage it! Formerly the bed of a Pleistocene glacial lake, it remains arid due to the rain shadow effects of the surrounding mountains. We?ll stop for lunch in the small community of Carcross where the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad ends. Our final night of camping is just outside of Carcross. No showers tonight, but a campsite wash-up is provided. All meals included.

Cycling: 55 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +3,110? / -2,800?

Day 9

An amazing descent into Skagway

Today we re-enter the US on the last riding day of our epic journey. After leaving the Yukon and re-entering British Columbia, the coastal mountains rise around us as we bike towards the historic White Pass down to the coast. We pass dozens of alpine lakes and watch the terrain become more mountainous as we cycle upward toward the pass. A narrow gap leads us to the Canada/US border checkpoint, followed by a thrilling 15-mile descent to the coastal town of Skagway, AK. Take some time to relax at our overnight accommodations, and enjoy the sights and sounds of this colorful town. We share a celebratory meal as our time together draws to a close. All meals included.

Cycling: 55 miles, Elevation gain/loss +3,337? / -5,687?

Day 10

Skagway breakfast, hotel checkout, and departure

This final morning is on your own. A buffet breakfast is included with the hotel, as is a shuttle to the ferry terminal or airport for your departure from Skagway. Breakfast included.

Gear List

This gear list has been created to help you choose the best equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary, as this will help you and the field staff. The weather and other conditions at the time of your arrival will dictate what clothing and equipment you will be required to use each day and what (if anything) can be left behind. It may be a necessary precaution that you bring certain items on the list, even if it is uncertain whether or not they will be needed.

Collection of selected R E I Co-op cycling merchandise and snacks laid out to pack for a bike tour

What to pack

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.